Time to ac­cept that shop­ping plan is a dud?

Rochdale Observer - - NEWS -

ON Thurs­day, Jan­uary 4, Rochdale coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­bers met to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the pro­posed new re­tail de­vel­op­ment on the site of the old bus sta­tion.

De­spite huge lo­cal in­ter­est in this long drawn-out saga, both the press and pub­lic were ex­cluded from at­tend­ing the meet­ing.

While some ob­vi­ously thought the de­vel­op­ment was a plau­si­ble idea 10 years ago, it is now just an­other em­bar­rass­ing ex­am­ple of what hap­pens when coun­cil­lors are sold a pup by con­sul­tants, so called coun­cil part­ner­ships and se­nior coun­cil of­fi­cers.

We are now at the stage when cur­rent coun­cil­lors need to ac­cept that too much money has al­ready been wasted on pre­par­ing the site for a pro­posed re­tail de­vel­op­ment (£26 mil­lion of our money, when last re­ported). It is sim­ply drift­ing along wait­ing for some­one to put an end to it.

My per­sonal sug­ges­tion would be to aban­don the cur­rent plans and look into the fea­si­bil­ity of the area be­com­ing a ded­i­cated place of en­ter­tain­ment. Let’s have as a start­ing point, a high ca­pac­ity, multi-use the­atre that can cater for all types of events. A fo­cal point for the many peo­ple of this bor­ough to come to­gether, have a good time and cre­ate life­long mem­o­ries.

The de­sire for an ever in­creas­ing num­ber of shop­ping cen­tres has peaked. That ship has sailed. How­ever, the amount that peo­ple spend on at­tend­ing con­certs has dou­bled in the last 5 years and shows no sign of slow­ing down. Now as luck has it, I think the area has, by de­fault, been made per­fect for the es­tab­lish­ment of var­i­ous en­ter­tain­ment venues. There are ex­cel­lent trans­port links and plenty of park­ing spaces. Ad­di­tion­ally, mu­sic events, con­certs, theatri­cal plays etc are of­ten held dur­ing the evening. They would have min­i­mal ef­fect on the con­gested traf­fic flow that al­ready ex­ists in that par­tic­u­lar area dur­ing peak hours.

Walk into our beau­ti­ful town hall and you are met with a large open floor area that was orig­i­nally de­signed for cloth trad­ing. It was never used for this be­cause by the time the build­ing was com­pleted, this type of trade had de­creased and the man­ner in which it was done had changed for­ever.

Sev­eral start­ing dates for the re­tail de­vel­op­ment have come and gone. Marks and Spencer has seen the light.

But will our coun­cil­lors? Carl Faulkner In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Spot­land and Falinge

HEALTH NOT TRI­DENT PLEASE

FIRSTLY, I would like to thank the two kind women in Lit­tle­bor­ough who of­fered to take me and bring me back from the Walk In Cen­tre in Rochdale on the Satur­day be­fore Christ­mas, af­ter I had had a bad fall.

I did go first to Rochdale and then was trans­ferred to Old­ham A & E. All the staff I met were kind, car­ing and ef­fi­cient. But, and sadly there is a ‘but,’ the wait­ing times were hor­ren­dous - 5 hours in Rochdale and later in the evening 8 hours in Old­ham.

Pain killers were handed out. The ser­vices are se­ri­ously un­der­staffed and un­der re­sourced. One doc­tor who treated me said ‘we are run ragged.’

I know new ways of or­gan­is­ing the ser­vices are be­ing con­sid­ered and that is good but none­the­less there is sim­ply a short­age of money. You may ask where is the money com­ing from?

For starters, the U.S. Tri­dent nu­clear armed sub­ma­rine project and its re­place­ment could be can­celled. It is go­ing to take £205 bil­lion in to­tal of pub­lic – our – money for a weapon which doesn’t keep any­one safe ei­ther here or across the world.

The big­gest threats to our se­cu­rity, as an­a­lysed by the gov­ern­ment, come from cy­ber war­fare and ter­ror­ists. Think of the Manch­ester bomb­ing; did hav­ing Tri­dent on pa­trol pre­vent that? Rae Street Hare Hill Road Lit­tle­bor­ough

‘ART­WORK’ IS IM­PRES­SIVE

I MUST say I ad­mire the lat­est art in­stal­la­tion to grace our town cen­tre.

To the un­so­phis­ti­cated it may just look like a pile of rub­ble oc­cu­py­ing the site of the for­mer Black Box (a pre­vi­ous in­stal­la­tion that fell out of favour) but to those with an artis­tic eye it is plainly a mod­ern day in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an 18th cen­tury folly.

It has surely been com­mis­sioned to cel­e­brate the folly that has been Rochdale Coun­cil for gen­er­a­tions and re­sulted in the sorry state of our town today. Per­haps the coun­cil could hold a com­pe­ti­tion to name this piece – I can cer­tainly think of one or two. John Her­bert Broad Lane I AM in­ter­ested to know if any of the lo­cal coun­cil­lors still in full time em­ploy­ment re­im­burse their em­ploy­ers for any time off they take on coun­cil busi­ness?

Also, they are taxed like ev­ery­one else, tak­ing into ac­count that cer­tain ex­penses are not out of pocket ex­pen­di­ture. I was amazed when I read the amount of ex­penses the re­cently de­posed coun­cil leader was re­ceiv­ing. Ge­orge Smith Rochdale

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